"The famously 'generous' terms offered to Arafat by Clinton and Barak were not as generous as all that. But his response was even more contemptible than is usually reported. He suddenly announced, first, that he represented the world's billion Muslims on the issue of Jerusalem and, second, that his own life might be in danger if he signed the wrong deal. Clearly, Arafat has never had�and could never have received�any general mandate from the Muslim world on Jerusalem or anything else. And as for the threat to his life�was this not the same man who used the word 'martyr' in every other sentence and announced from his besieged compound that it was his highest desire? Willing to die in a pointless scuffle but not willing to risk anything for an agreement? In cold fact, Arafat was protected from 'martyrdom' at Israel's hands, as he well knew, by an edict of President Bush to Sharon. The charming conclusion of this drama is now the widely spread rumor that the chairman was martyred after all, having been poisoned by the Jews: a rumor itself perhaps designed to pre-empt any discussion of his AIDS-like symptoms at the end. What a squalid and ignoble terminus, to a life of steadily diminishing returns. "